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Government Media Hardware Technology

Notel Media Player Helps North Koreans Skirt Censorship 54

An anonymous reader writes A small portable media device, costing roughly $50, is allowing North Koreans to access and view foreign media despite tight government censorship, according to a Reuters report. The 'Notel', a mashup of notebook and television, is being described as a symbol of change in the repressed society. Used to watch DVDs and shared content from USB sticks and SD cards, the media player can be easily concealed and transported among families and friends. According to correspondents in the region, as many as half of all urban North Korean households have a notel and are swapping a broad range of banned media such as soaps and TV dramas from South Korea and China, Hollywood blockbusters, and news clips — all of which is strictly forbidden by Pyongyang law.
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Notel Media Player Helps North Koreans Skirt Censorship

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  • Just wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kelemvor4 ( 1980226 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @07:42PM (#49358795)
    Just wait until the MPAA and RIAA get ahold of them for piracy. They'll wish they were in north Korean prison.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's funny because Notel is like No Tell, which means don't tell, so the fat dictator can't put you in a forced labor camp with your entire family/kill you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Notel was a motel chain.

    • by hitmark ( 640295 )

      Not sure i would want to do room cleaning there...

    • The 'Notel Motel' franchise values secrecy -- so much so, that even publicly using the name is strictly forbidden in the charter. Typically the way you can identify an establishment as a member of the Notel network, is by their rate structure: If they can charge by the half-hour, then it's almost certainly a Notel Motel.

      ..meanwhile, back in North Korea: You can't stop the signal, now can you? I bet that despite his outward appearance of being virulently xenophobic and rabidly against all things Western, Ki
  • the fruits of civilization bringing freedom of information into the dark corners of totalitarianism.
  • by Onuma ( 947856 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @07:52PM (#49358843)
    North Korean dominance over its people can't last forever. Sooner or later, they'll wake up to the fact that they're being subjugated, manipulated, and forced to live in poverty.

    I hope more Notels get circulated. The more, the better.
    • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @08:11PM (#49358907) Homepage

      Sooner or later, they'll wake up to the fact that they're being subjugated, manipulated, and forced to live in poverty. "

      Funny how substituting North Korea for other large nations of the world can still make the above sentence seem very relevant.

      NK is definitely bad, but it's not the only one. Maybe just the most obvious.

      • by Onuma ( 947856 )
      • by Anonymous Coward

        >1st worlders whining about lack of cell coverage and the other political party in power
        how did this get a 2?

      • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:08PM (#49359495) Homepage Journal

        NK bad is several orders of magnitude worse than most countries in the world.

        All countries have problems but to talk about those interchangeably with NK's problems is a farcical level of ignorance or intellectual dishonesty about just how bad it is in NK.

        You can't say anything intelligent about your world if you have no sense of proportion and degree. []

    • Same here. In fact, I would totally pay into a Kickstarter to send them more. These things are the beginning of the end for that regime.

      • by Onuma ( 947856 )
        Except, the units would never arrive. Or if they did, they wouldn't be fully enabled.
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @07:52PM (#49358847) Homepage Journal

    Saves the day again.

  • What do North Koreans have against skirts?

  • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

    The last place on Earth not yet polluted with Western style pop culture and consumerism. You would think that after 70 years of wholesome, commercial free living these N. Koreans would have lost their taste for soaps and TV dramas. It's almost like they're not satisfied with the indigenous culture of their great nation.

    I think perhaps this isn't really a case of these good people debasing themselves with our media dreck. They are collecting this material for use in their world class education system.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @08:44PM (#49359015)

    And was like "Man, everyone is getting into the media streaming game, even defunct Canadian companies."

  • How is it that millions of N. Koreans have discovered the Notel before slashdot?

    • Same reason people go "hey, that's a good idea" when I tell them about how soviet-made cars in the 70's and 80's had backup handcranks stored in the trunk that you'd insert into a slot hidden behind the front license plate when your engine wouldn't turn over on its own. Western stuff just doesn't need those sorts of workarounds built ruight into it.
      • by hitmark ( 640295 )

        Instead they carry a backup battery that can also charge your mobile devices in the glove compartment.

        Not sure what solution will prove more reliable down the road though.

    • maybe because they don't live in North Korea?

      do you know about insect fighting in Taiwan?

      you don't?

      must be censorship

    • You must be new here.....

      On Slashdot, breaking news is at least a week late.
      On Slashdot, we don't comment on the news, but on the duplicate story.
      On Slashdot, we don't even read the article. It's much better trolling in comments.
      On Slashdot, we already have opinions so the actual news doesn't really matter

      Maybe the *ancients* could add some...

  • Get yourself executed and you entire family sent off to starve in a reeducation camp all for watching SpongeBob.

"Help Mr. Wizard!" -- Tennessee Tuxedo